tv [untitled] January 7, 2013 2:30pm-3:00pm EST
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low and welcome to crossfire i'm peter lavelle what do we mean when we use the term the west is that geographic an historical or more of an outlook and a state of mind many around the world have an ambivalent attitude towards the west indeed the west remains relatively rich but it is also associated with arrogance and violence. you cross talk what we mean by the term the west i'm joined by stephen leatherman in chicago he is a blogger author and radio host for the progressive radio network in washington we have david markel he's a former deputy assistant secretary of state and in toronto we cross to michael coren he is a t.v. and radio host columnist and author all right gentlemen cross talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i really encourage it steven if i go to you first when you hear the term the west what caught what comes to mind for you. well the term where it's really reflects western values western civilization and i think many viewers know about or maybe you're old enough
to remember what gandhi said about western civilization when asked he said he thought it was a good idea it was a classic gandhi put down he knows the hum over many centuries that western civilization has caused so many millions so much calm over so much time indeed western civilization i'm afraid is far less civilized the we're talking about economic political social military i shudder when i think of the harm that western civilization and western values have done and it gives me much to write about i've written a couple of books i've written three books on it i didn't call it western values a western civilization but i reflected those things in what i wrote i discussed it all the time in my own radio program in the many articles that i write i write them
daily before the program today i grafted on an article i'll get out tomorrow it certainly reflects western values i'm afraid i have nothing good to say about them nor i don't then i'm going to take a jail if i want to judge there is a lot there go ahead. well i look the the west does not have a monopoly on virtue and it's not devoid of of evil but obviously i would strongly disagree with what the previous speaker mentioned i think that the west has been a term that we grew used to during the cold war when it was a battle between east and west when it was a battle between a society that was going to advance democracy and and market economy that put the individual at the center and had the state as a servant to the citizen rather than a citizen a servant to the state and also the also the west has the ability for
critical self examination and to advance itself it's made many mistakes and has learned from it ok michael jump in where do you come in on this. front a very interesting there's a comment about gandy you know and my wife is from south asia so i'm very familiar with indian culture and you'll be pushed to find an indian today even more than a billion people who would take that comment by gandy seriously again he of course was a product of western civilization and he was educated in the united kingdom and for a time in south africa and india went through generations of poverty until it actually rejected it spawns the idea of gandy embrace capitalism we think more than two hundred fifty million people have been given good incomes in the past twenty years because of that that is too simplistic to say that anyone saw one cause that's all the truth but if you want the idea of western values first this is important that doesn't just mean the united states and the hated bash america i love the united states but western values and virtues important is more than just
the us i would trace this back i suppose to the ancient greeks to hell in a culture through. christianity very important that of course came from the middle east but expanded into into europe and the west. some progress something approaching what the west enjoys now civility democracy it goes wrong but generally goes right the theme and i mean you can take some of the values like democracy ok but you shouldn't force it on other people i mean they were talking about different things here. well i'm not sure what democracy you're
talking about peter let me let me go to you about this one here because i think everyone like the mosque we see everybody does ok but bombing someone to have it is another thing i go ahead stephen. well i don't think any nation has the right to force any system on another nation in america of course many makes a practice of that it institutionalized forcing its ways on other nations and international law is very clear on this this is absolutely illegitimate illegal but when you talk about democracy i write a lot about democracy i go back to america's founders and i can assure you in their own words the last thing they established in america was democracy they deploy democracy they wanted no part of it i mean look at the country they they they instituted they gave voting rights to fifteen percent of the population blacks were in people they were commodities women had no rights they were homemakers in childcare is what kind of democracy is that america exterminated is made of people
it in slave this black people and we got rid of but we got rid of chattel slavery and what do we have today in this place. wait slavery i mean you can really take america parties by peace michael you are well these are just mindless cliches gladdie they're just silly aren't they i mean i want to i don't conversation here but a little respect if we're just going to if we're going to speak in cliches we're not going to get anywhere first of all historically this is just infantile the founding fathers believe very much in democracy no democracy involved of course and you had a market say that only applied to people who own property you had a birth defect of slavery which the country then threw itself into a civil war largely to remove but when you talk about imposing values on others i'm sorry i was all for imposing values on national socialist germany we had a right not legation to go in there and destroy that regime fascist the pan is well i don't look the iraq war i was against the iraq war afghanistan i think there's an argument for that but this idea that somehow america imposing its values across the
world is the norm that's not true and the united states getting involved in the second world war leaving five hundred fifty thousand men dead in in africa in asia and europe a war it could all that i'd like a lot of money alleghany i go there are a good idea there i'm all of us let's take the example of libya. in the second world war i think the europeans we should have gone in there ok with and we should mention it libya libya was the wrong decision you know what i don't i do not understand libya gadhafi was turning right he'd been a monster and we tolerated him he wanted to become part of the west and we got rid of him i was completely against libya i'll go further i think mubarak should have been supported i think the arab spring is going to be a disaster for democracy and minorities and women and gay people and christians throughout the arab world yes i'm against it ok but david i want to say with these values things i mean people in the arab world want democracy ok do they have to be delivered it with a drone well i i think i think what people want is they want they want justice
they want opportunity they don't want an election as a one day event that's not going to see any institutions built that allow them in we allow them to determine their own sitting they determine that themselves why do we have to be the nanny of the hurly what happened. well i look we're in or not the nanny of the world whether it's whether it's europe or the united states but i think that the that the united states and europe and the west needs to be very clear about what our values are and that means that you're supporting people who want democracy either in principle or in material support and what you know the reality is that a full blown democracy is the most stable form of government there is but that transition is a very very unstable one and i don't disagree with everything that one of the. panelists said that there is questions about why libya why not syria. what do we do
in egypt is a big never then so you kind of famously said you don't want to pull your support from an existing leader and tell you know what's going to replace them and he sat obviously in the in the seat when when the shah of iran left so there is a lot of questions about how best to respond to change how best to promote change but i think that it is absolutely right that that governments have to stay ahead of their people and their desire for greater civil liberties greater democracy greater opportunity to work in the marketplace ok steve i think it's really quite interesting when we were bringing up the arab spring here but for decades the west just turned its eyes away from civil society and democratic ideas that all of a sudden they're very interested in. well i don't think the west is interested in not this local arab spring is really a bogus term it's
a western term peter it is not a middle east term and the situation in the middle east right now is worse than when the so-called arab spring began around winter two thousand and eleven tunisia egypt again conditions in tunisia to now worse than on the banality barack is gone mostly wants to establish and is a lamo fascist dictatorship that's what morsi is all about we don't want to bring that about and then are you still using that we should of influence that the outcome we didn't bring about we should have learned or praying or the we didn't we didn't wounded i think or you think a certain man of business i think sir that maybe whether that had only writing on your blog you should read a little bit of history and current events michael it looks like you agree with stephen i want to do it here let's let michael go well if i if i may again i think i know facts can be annoying but arab spring actually is an arabic word it's
a direct translation from the arabic now what happens in egypt for example i may approve or not approve of you can't have it both ways we have one the panelists saying that western values appalling and repugnant do so much damage the same time he's moaning about what is going on in the middle east right now i think that western american anglo-american european policy towards the middle east has generally been what it's certainly lacked nuance but democracy is more than about as someone said earlier one person one vote maybe one election it's about a context is about respecting the opposition it's about tolerating the people who lose it about a free press you know in turkey right now you do have democracy but you have more journalists in prison and then the other country on earth what i'm frightened about in egypt is that if women turning up to vote are denied that vote because they're not wearing a job or a burka we're in serious trouble right gentlemen i'm going to have to jump in here we're going to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the west stay with r.t. . we believe. the
start time dot com. welcome back to crossfire and people about to mind you we're talking about what the west means. ok day i'd like to go back to you as we have been talking about democracy and i think all of us on this program agree with democratic values ok but the united states and its western allies like to deny democracy in many places and it has done for us for decades ok you can look at hamas you can look at other places where they've been elections but the west say you know we don't like that ok doesn't that hurt the west and then this is not necessarily the idea of democracy.
well i look i find it interesting that the suggestion that the united states is denying democracy obviously during the cold war the battle lines was was who's with the west who's who's with the soviet union and the top of the agenda was not necessarily whether the leader of a certain country was was democratic or not those days are behind us and of course i think that that the principled stand for democracy the principle stand for human rights is a very very important thing that said that said the world during this administration has been a very unstable world we have more crises in the middle east we have problems in asia so while you want to pursue democracy and pursue the institutions of democracy that does not mean that you want just any radical glue group to come to power through through intimidation and a again have perhaps one election not govern
in a fair and just way not expand justice to its population so yes you want to produce promote democracy but you want to be realistic about it you want to promote institutions that will further the rights and freedoms of individuals not simply have an election day event and then that's the last one ok well michael why shouldn't people if i go right up in question that premise because you said that the west didn't like the results of the election with hamas being elected well it doesn't have to like it it be one thing if the west intervene to disrupt the government to get rid of a must i mean canada canadian canada was the first country to say what mass is elected we will have no relationship with you it has a right to do that democracy resulted it may have been a flawed democracy it may not be a walk and democracy may be quite intolerant but the mass won in gaza that's the result the west doesn't have to prove that the west doesn't have to give. all money
to these countries you can have your election but we don't have to say we approve of the result this happens international not just with underdeveloped countries but when we think of the west's first interest is the west and there should be no apology but it's not by now the west can have feels own interest but if they can't control what the values mean democracy ok so i would tend to disagree with you on that ok you know be democratic but if you have an election we still don't like the outcome it sounds hypocritical why again when those then we're going to have a deal with them whether the government when it is time here david yuan jump in. now i just i just agree i agree with the point that you accept what democracy has brought but you don't need to necessarily support that government and you can you can call on that new government for standards of governance for standards of governance for its own people for standards of governance in this relationship with its neighbors yes but david then then the palestinian people are being punished for voting the wrong way right i don't see how they're
being punished the men for voting the wrong way ok well what i can assure you i believe in all right c.n.n. you know if you know you've got gaza is under blockade ok because on the right because of hamas gaza is down there in gaza resent early in the illegal blockade when humanitarian missions try to come in the israeli navy intercepts them in murders humanitarian activists they murdered nine on a mission and a couple of years ago in may two thousand and ten he's a cool head saying when the last american is behind to speak when we allow them to go israel america and so when we would all have been the aagot. well maybe you should tell me that he does a lot about the wall with that without actually having been there because i have and i can tell you as much as i think that israel palestine i'm not sure if they'll be a solution but i wish they could be one but the idea that the israeli navy is blockading and murdering people well let me do what you want i'll just say that those that use
of those approaches everything really. want any aggression going on why it's you that was not comes down to you support reading communities in the west bank on a daily basis do you support institutionalized torture you support institutional as i realize and i'm not using. anything at all the great that important is that when you're going home stages you have you know an american. of middle eastern politics yeah yeah yeah yeah america bad america but i mean look let's be serious they are and this is that this is a down market like hong kong they say these are our policies are not very. good for jobs and gentleman david. look if you understand i think i think if we're going to do iran as i say they're going there again going to be the end of the michael michael let david go let david go go i think. i mean. the united states the west is going to promote its interests if a people elect
a government and that government is not a stabilizing effect in the region but is lobbing missiles at its neighbor then they're going to not be supported by the west they're going to be called to account for that and the united nations and any suggestion you know the one panelist says that everything in the in the west is bad and then it also says that we're responsible for everything either we do something and then it's bad or we don't do something it is bad that we didn't do something i mean i think that really is a everything we live. stephen go ahead well firstly what i really wish to waste is that of the west has done a lot for me the whiskey be a wonderful education when it was affordable the whiskey be everything that i have you know without without the west that i lived in i couldn't have what i have now there are a lot of wonderful things about the way as i pointed out before i see the very serious flaws and so i mean there are so many major ones there's not enough time to
talk about them but certainly no nation has the right to intervene in the internal affairs of another unless that nation is attacking the host nation or threatens to attack is far as american democracy goes i see nothing democratic about america they're all in the mind by that standard by this man as you will just buy that said you would suggest interaction and iran by the united states because if it threatens to attack israel so by your standard the united states should pursue it but i was on rails or earlier your standard we should pursue those in gaza military militarily well that's well that's a big lie iran has threatened no one iran hasn't attacked another country in two or three centuries in case you don't know you hit the wrong ok you're right it's a good profile and you have i think you should read more all right let's get started gentlemen let's change gears here michael what about drones how does this you know the west looks intensely violent in that part of the world and the
legality of it is very unclear talk about drones do you you mean the middle east of afghanistan what precisely you talking about pakistan. well you know pakistan and i think this is the most troubled and troubling region in the entire world actually for even more so than iran because you have a government in the country in that spill is meant to be allied to the west but of course is playing a game has a nuclear bomb drones are killing innocent people as well as the guilty you know there was a time when war is storage other face to face and it was never a good thing sometimes it's inevitable but today these drones are being flown by by no exam rooms three thousand miles away i don't blame the west for using drones it's an exclusive the west of course so people use them but i'm not sure how you deal with pakistan i know being on the television i meant to have supernatural wisdom but i don't know how you deal with a country where the you know there was a time in pakistan you know you wanted radicalism but the intelligentsia the educated class was sufficiently large it would always be ok when i was at
university benazir bhutto was at university this is a very very progressive accomplished person that's gone the educated classes haemorrhage pakistan it's not really in large numbers and radicalism is the order of the day and you have the intelligence services that are terribly unreliable i am very pessimistic but i wouldn't say withdraw foreign aid because people still need help in that country and india and kashmir and the troubled border this is going to be a fun time this year it really is david you know i go to the dry comment on rome was go ahead stephen jump in can i comment on one hand. well there's been a number of studies the most recent one was stanford university new york university and reading the report i quoted verbatim from it in two articles i wrote only two percent two percent of those killed are what america calls high level military targets nearly all the others who are civilians you talk about drone wars they are killing civilians the pentagon denies it the cia deny it mainly cia absolutely
denied but those are the cold hard facts do york university and stand for you over a city don't play me talk to them david how do you think it would have been is all about very heavily involved. in yemen it's in somalia it's in other countries there's a major base being expanded in djibouti. bases all over the place you've got these computer terminals you could fire away operators you get more close in operate is but here is a very. emotional question thousand realizing who in years and i might call nigeria when i call jumpin houses sir sir sir just listen for a moment please give me the courtesy of this tell me who is fighting whom in yemen could you tell me. well it certainly isn't america's known hamilton for the yemenis it's not for america oh you know this is you know here i'll go but i know you're trying to and i've never tried to take you we're not for america and then is not america's wall of yemen is a war being fought between superpowers in the region iran and saudi arabia sunni
and shia islam all fighting each other in this area the idea that america did this paranoia that america is everywhere it's like you get these gutter and you see much you think it's always a jewish person behind an issue yet iran turkey saudi arabia even the emerging egypt these are power brokers in the region there's a complexity of the world that goes beyond your idea of america in the west but everyone else good it's far more complex than that david i'm going to be the last word in the program go ahead why i think i think wasn't was important to get back to is that the world is a very complex very dangerous world and i still think that the the west the economic prosperity that spread beyond the west the stability through through your atlantic institutions still has a lot to contribute to the world not a monopoly on virtue but certainly i think it's a powerful positive force for the world all right gentlemen we've run out of time many thanks to my guest today in chicago washington and in toronto and thanks to
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